The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 6

Well, whoops. Let me start with telling you that I’ve just noticed that I’ve done part one, two, three, three and four of this so far. Yes, that’s right, there’s three down twice. So this week would have been five except now it’s six. And I’ve corrected the past two weeks’ titles as well. How embarrassing! So, they should now be correctly named part one, two, three, four and five.

Anyway, my copy of the book is an 8th impression from 1955 (handed down from my mum) and the modern copy I’m comparing it to is a Macmillan one from 2001 (borrowed from Stef).


Nothing much exciting changes this chapter though I was pleased to finally meet Bill again.

Cigarette-end becomes cigarette end though I’m surprised this wasn’t a sweet paper floating in the rock pool.

Jo-Jo is an odd job man twice, rather than a black servant or our black servant. 

The two boys were thrilled for some reason is the boys were thrilled. I know we know that there’s two of them but was there any reason two cut two out?

Queer yet again becomes strange.

And lastly a possible minor error is corrected. Hi, Dinah! hi, Lucy-Ann! is how it appears in the original. I’m sure there’s some rule about not always having to have a capital after an exclamation mark or question mark if it isn’t truly the end of a sentence but I do think it looks queer strange. The newer edition capitalises the second hi.


Starting with the usual changes – queer pets are now strange ones, an extra-large spider is now extra large and that queer secret passage is just that secret passage.

As before the black man is now the man. And Jo-Jo becomes he at one point.

More interestingly there are a few changes that seem to be there purely to remove any “sexism”. 

In the original edition they each bought a torch, the girls too. Now it’s just they each bought a torch. Now they all go shopping together so each does imply all four anyway, but earlier it’s the boys talking about buying torches and the girls don’t seem to show an interest then. I don’t see the harm in making it clear that the girls bought torches too. If the way it was written was an issue (and I can’t see how, it’s not like it says even the girls) they could have had each of the four. But that’s not even necessary had they left it alone in the first place.

When they arrive at the hotel it’s said that Bill showed the girls where to wash and do their hair. Now it reads that he showed them where to wash and comb their hair. I can see it would have made sense if the boys had washed and combed their hair as well, as that was very much the done thing in those days before a meal. How often do we do that nowadays? But I still don’t think it needed changing. You could read between the lines and the boys could have found their own way. 

I’m a bit lost as to what the next change is meant to improve on. Golly isn’t this different to Aunt Polly’s old car that Jo-Jo drives! is now just Aunt Polly’s old car. Well, we know that Jo-Jo drives her car – he picked up the children from the station and then drove into town that very day. Does removing that remove the implication that Aunt Polly doesn’t drive the car? And if so, why is what important? I can think of several women I know that no longer drive through lack of confidence, even though they have a car. 

Lastly when Jack spots Jo-Jo waiting outside the hotel he refers to him as dear Jo-Jo. The dear is obviously sarcastic as we know there’s no love lost between him and the children but there’s no dear in the modern copy, he’s just Joe.

Only six proper changes this time, though arguably some of the bigger ones so far.

That takes us up to fifty-five individual changes now.

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3 Responses to The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 6

  1. Francis says:

    Thanks again, Fiona. I’m mortified to learn that the original book (about the time I first discovered this series) belonged to your mother – how old this makes me feel! Please tell me that you think that I’m still young – I don’t mind a few lies !


    • fiona says:

      I won’t make it worse by telling you how many years after the book’s publication she was born! Age is only a number anyway, we’re only as old as we feel (I’ll let you decide how old you are in that case.)


  2. Francis says:

    Sometimes I feel very old – but my behaviour stays as juvenile as ever. I am sure Izzy would confirm that!


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